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Why 2001 Was The Worst And Greatest Year In Music History

The Strokes are coming...

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There's no arguing with the fact that the music of the late '90s was damn iconic. But it's about time we talked about another time of extreme music highs and lows. It's time we all sat down and discussed 2001.

If you got through on a steady mix of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Silverchair, The Melvins, and Sonic Youth, but by 2001 you’d had your fill of long-hair white man music. Riiight? Cue Queen Bey, or more accurately Destiny’s Child!
Andre Csillag/REX/Shutterstock

If you got through on a steady mix of Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Silverchair, The Melvins, and Sonic Youth, but by 2001 you’d had your fill of long-hair white man music. Riiight? Cue Queen Bey, or more accurately Destiny’s Child!

Survivor dropped into the post-grunge hangover like a shot of nitrous and all of a sudden the world felt OK again.

Columbia Records / Via gph.is

As Michelle says: “After all the darkness and sadness, soon comes happiness!”

And so begins one of the greatest and worst years in music. This is the year a cartoon band became one of most popular in the world.

Gorillaz’s first single "Clint Eastwood" dropped in March and people were like, “Shit that skinny little gremlin sings a lot like someone I’ve heard before…”.
Gorrillaz / Virgin Records / Via en.wikipedia.org

Gorillaz’s first single "Clint Eastwood" dropped in March and people were like, “Shit that skinny little gremlin sings a lot like someone I’ve heard before…”.

The world was kind of into this mashup of hip hop and slacker rock. And then came N*E*R*D. Pharrell Williams! Chad Hugo! Making… rock music?

N*E*R*D / Virgin Records / Via theneptunes.org

The band released In Search of... in 2001, but the story goes that the re-release in 2002 was the big tipping point. But whatevs. "Lapdance" happened and it was mind-blowing.

People who loved rock were getting their dance on, and it was amazing. Weezer released another self-titled album (the green one) with "Island in the Sun".

Weezer / Geffen Records

Weezer / Geffen Records

Eels / Dreamworks Records

Eels / Dreamworks Records

Eels’ Souljacker followed and we were all so happy.

And then The Shins arrived with their debut Oh, Inverted World.

And it had songs like "Caring is Creepy" and "New Slang" and Zach Braff got involved. And apparently someone had decided to pop the happy balloon 'cause Turin Brakes appeared and so began an era of critically acclaimed mopey twee rock. Followed by Jack Johnson sunset surf rock. Why, why, why?
Zach Braff / Camelot Pictures / Via imdb.com

And it had songs like "Caring is Creepy" and "New Slang" and Zach Braff got involved. And apparently someone had decided to pop the happy balloon 'cause Turin Brakes appeared and so began an era of critically acclaimed mopey twee rock. Followed by Jack Johnson sunset surf rock. Why, why, why?

Thank goodness for KAREN O. Yeah boy, this was a happy day.

Having toured a bit with The White Stripes, who were killing it with White Blood Cells and "I Fell In Love With a Girl", the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their debut self-titled EP.
Graham Wiltshire/REX/Shutterstock

Having toured a bit with The White Stripes, who were killing it with White Blood Cells and "I Fell In Love With a Girl", the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their debut self-titled EP.

If Björk and Kim Gordon had a love child it would only be half as cool as Karen O. Seeing a woman front an indie rock band is still a giddy experience now as it was then. Why so few?!

Max Knies / Via commons.wikimedia.org

But with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs also came… The Strokes: the other super successful NYC band who creeped into the spotlight in 2001 with Is This It.

It was brilliant, and they were all very pretty and so, so glamorous. And there were models and celebrities and all the trappings of wealth.
The Strokes / Cult Records / Splendour / Via splendourinthegrass.com

It was brilliant, and they were all very pretty and so, so glamorous. And there were models and celebrities and all the trappings of wealth.

Towards the end of the year, The Dandy Warhols 2000 song "Bohemian Like You” was used in a Vodafone commercial and re-released peaking at No 5 on the UK’s Top 40 charts.

And people became conflicted. Did indie rock sell out?
The Dandy Warhols / Capitol Records / Via en.wikipedia.org

And people became conflicted. Did indie rock sell out?

In Australia, a little band called Jet formed, and soon Apple took notice. Within a couple of years their song "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" would become theme music for an ipod commercial.

And suddenly the era of grunge and earnest angst-ridden lyrics felt very far away.
Will Fresch / Via commons.wikimedia.org

And suddenly the era of grunge and earnest angst-ridden lyrics felt very far away.

See what I mean? 2001 was a mess. But would we give up Brushfire Fairytales if it meant losing the arrival of Karen O? Of course not.

Wifflegif / Via gph.is

Can't take any of it back.

Correction: The original version of the post incorrectly listed The Shins single as "Creepy is Caring" and N*E*R*D's album as In Speaking of…. What were we thinking!